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Old 03-30-2010, 02:06 AM   #51
reddery
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Default Re: Fatal Flaw?

Mac,

not that I agree with any of this stuff, as I am trying to figure how he mixes Plot and Theme in his theory, here's Shawshank


Antagonist: Corrupt system of government/courts
Protagonist: Red
MC: Andy

Now the story is always told from Red's POV; that is why at the end you don't really know what happend to Andy when he escapes - it's jsut the next day and he's gone.

The beginning is - what they would call in the literary world - a prelude.

Red's up for parole - he's the one fighting the system - at the end he's the one that beats the system.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:58 AM   #52
Steven Jenkins
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Default Re: Fatal Flaw?

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Originally Posted by JimHull View Post
Just to clear up any "horrifically bad information" I may be passing on...
That was my fault, misunderstanding the theory.

I got confused by the term "prime mover of the story". I now think I've got that bit right: It's the prime mover of the particular story I'm telling, not the prime mover of the overall battle, unless I decide to tell the general's story. Then if I decide to tell the general's stroy, but use somebody else's POV to expeience the effects of it then I have a split Protag/MC. Pls correct me if I'm still wrong here

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It has been awhile since I've seen "Thelma and Louise", but if I remember correctly, Thelma (Geena Davis) is the Protagonist while Louise (Susan Sarandon) is the Main Character. I'm not sure if this is the same kind of dynamic you have in your own story, but it certainly sounds like it.
Thanks Jim
I'm looking to T&L for help as my story is mostly a road movie, and I have very few main or secondary characters. Actually there's only about 5 what you'd call Dramatic role function characters, none of whom have pure traits. (Protagonist has: 'persue', 'conscience', 'uncontrolled', 'feeling' traits for example). T&L characters seemed to have similar mixed traits, with nearly all the 16 Dramatica function traits being shared out between the two girls.

But my main problem is the antagonist.

I started with just one story - getting info on a flash drive to a person/destination. Then I started looking for twists and subplots, which landed me with at least two.

main plot - delivering the info - easy antagonist here.
subplot1 - the authorities who use the hero as bait so they can capture the antagonist.
subplot2 - the guardian who gives the hero the task to deliver the info is actually using him as a red-herring/decoy, while he arranges to sell a copy to the chinese.

So in the last few minutes the guardian becomes the antagonist who has to be stopped, (this is where I think I may be making my greenhorn fatal-flaw - eg: old & worn twists, predictable swapping of antagonists, and probably other things too.)

I'm trying to explore the theme of mixed loyalties, and these (maybe old) subplots and twists seemed to fit quite nicely.

hope I'm still OT here...?

Last edited by Steven Jenkins : 03-30-2010 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:56 AM   #53
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Default Re: Fatal Flaw?

I will never understand people's propensity for being offended by taking quotes out of context, but judging by the new article on Jim's site, it's widespread.

I know that by engaging at all, I'm just clinging to outdated concepts and stifling writers, but...

Shawshank? Mac H. has it completely right that the protagonist and main character are Andy, but I disagree and think it's pretty clear that the warden is the antagonist. (reddery, are you talking about the short story maybe? I haven't read it, but the movie doesn't end with Andy disappearing and not knowing where he's gone.) And on Star Wars, I disagree with Jim (heresy, I know) and think that the antagonist is Darth Vader.

In most movies, the antagonist isn't a group or a concept. It's a person. It makes it easier to cast someone in the role, and sell action figures.

For the whole main character/narrator kerfluffle... In a good movie, lots of characters besides the protagonist can have big stories, changes, themes, whatever. And if a piece of story software (Dramatica) wants to change the terminology up... okay. No one on earth is going to know what you're talking about when you go into a meeting and have to talk about your story, but feel free to call your narrator the main character, even though they're not. Call the antagonist the waffle iron. Go nuts!

And Steven, this is just one person's advice, but this theory has you twisted in knots. I've been working as a writer for fifteen years, I've spent literally tens of thousands of hours talking to hundreds of professionals about story and characters, and I honestly have no idea what you're talking about.

That is gobbledegook, and by trying to fit your story into Dramatic role function characters and pure traits and Guardians and Dramatica function traits, you have no idea what actual story you're telling or what your characters are. You need to able to simplify your story so it's comprehensible. A movie is about a protagonist who is trying to accomplish a goal, even though the antagonist is trying to stop him. Once you have that, you can build it up with theme and secondary characters and plot twists and reversals and whatever, but you need to start there.

Again, one person's opinion, but your story right now has a flawed core, and no amount of Dramatica terms will make it interesting. Your story, as I understand it, is "a man has to carry a flash drive across the country while other people try to stop him." Does that sound like a movie you'd see? Is there anything about that concept that seems like a hook that would draw people in?

I don't think any one book has the answer, but I would buy Save The Cat if I were you. And absorb it. It's a really good basic guide, and avoids confusing people with neo-Jungian mumbo jumbo.
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:41 AM   #54
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Default Re: Fatal Flaw?

I understand what you're saying

But i don't think it's rubbish. I think it just describes what most writers do by instinct, and with a lot of hard work getting characters to work together, with each other and the story itself. It's a deff' the movies the theroists use as examples never heard of the theory, but traits are still there and used as described by the theory.

Like I say, I'm just a novice and still trying to get a feel for good stroytelling. I'm ruling nothing out as yet.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:03 AM   #55
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Yes, but - and I say this with all kindness and no snark at all - using this theory, two days ago you thought that the Emperor and Sauron were the protagonists of their respective movies. It turns out you were misunderstanding... but honestly, the theory is so complicated that I know why.

And you're right - all of those movies referenced weren't written using the method. And, all of those same movies can also be broken down and shown to fit the hero's journey, and the Dramatica method, and the Save The Cat, and the Sequencing Method, and the Billy Bob's ScriptSecret theory and and and...

(Just like one country used to look at a group of stars and see a turtle, another country would see a lion, and another one would see a sandwich. They were all certain they were right, but none of them were any closer to understanding what stars were.)

Which is why I think, at the end of the day, you need to put highly specific structural theories aside and write your movie. Movies have three acts. A beginning, a middle and an end. They have to have a compelling concept at their core. They have to hold your interest all the way through. You have to have a character you're rooting for the whole time. You have to make it seem impossible for that character to succeed. You have to cleverly have them win.

Worrying about combing the Trickster with the Antipodal Shapeshifter with the Thematic Crunch and making sure they all beat the Clock of Reveal is going to take you way off track, IMO.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:07 AM   #56
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Default Re: Fatal Flaw?

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Like I say, I'm just a novice and still trying to get a feel for good stroytelling. I'm ruling nothing out as yet.
i'm not going through pages of posts on this subject. but suggestion: invest in Robert McKee's book Story.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:25 AM   #57
JeffLowell
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Default Re: Fatal Flaw?

I take it all back about Dramatica. I found a really easy to use chart that made it all make sense.

http://storymind.com/free-downloads/ddomain.pdf
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:48 AM   #58
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I take it all back about Dramatica. I found a really easy to use chart that made it all make sense.

http://storymind.com/free-downloads/ddomain.pdf
i don't know what you said before but when i see stuff like this it makes my eyes glaze over. and i was a psychology major.
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:20 AM   #59
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Default Re: Fatal Flaw?

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I
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understand
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people's propensity for
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taking quotes out of context
It's good to see you have finally accepted this.

And what's your problem with Dramatica? I thought every screenwriter, be they pro or aspiring, had a deep and abiding love for really boring and complicated graphs and charts.

I dream of a day when can write our scripts as a series of pie charts and the occasional PowerPoint presentation.
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:31 AM   #60
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I take it all back about Dramatica. I found a really easy to use chart that made it all make sense.

http://storymind.com/free-downloads/ddomain.pdf
My browser (Opera. Yeah, I know. Bite me Firefox users) crashes every time I open this link.

I think it may actually be so complicated that even my computer can't handle it.
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